Frank Darrington, of Mabel, Minn., died December 6, 2013. His journey ended surrounded by family at hospice care in Green Lea Manor. There will be a memorial service in the spring for family. Frank was proud to have donated his body to Mayo for research. The family requests that any memorials be made to the Gift of Life Transplant House, 707 2nd St SW, Rochester Minnesota 55902 in memory of Frank Darrington.
Frank's journey began in Winneshiek County June 28, 1924, when he was born to Byron and Mae Darrington. He was the oldest of four boys. Frank graduated from high school in Bayfield, Wis., where the family had moved in 1938. Frank enlisted in the U.S. Army May 29, 1943, at 18 years old. He served as a 2nd Lt. in the Army Air Corp where he piloted B24s and B25s. While on leave, he married his high school sweetheart, Jeanne Kreutzer, June 7, 1944. After being honorably discharged Oct. 13, 1945, Frank was employed by WI Motors in Milwaukee, Wis. - which is likely the time he became a lifelong Green Bay Packer fan. His first daughter, Vonnie, was born in Milwaukee Jan. 4, 1946. Frank returned to his roots in Winneshiek County where he spent a short time as an employee of the State Bank of Mabel. His only son, David, was born in Decorah May 25, 1947. Eventually his love of flying led him into a series of careers piloting his Piper Cub. He received his pilot instructor's license and trained numerous pilots in both Rochester, Minn. and locally in Mabel, Minn. He provided charter flights and also was a crop duster. A crop-dusting accident in Mississippi ended his piloting career and almost his life. Upon his recovery he spent 9 months in Greenland working as cook for a construction company constructing a military airfield. He became a member of the "Blue Nose Brotherhood" for enduring months of subzero temperatures above the Arctic Circle. In late 1953, Frank moved to California and worked with his brother-in-law, Forrest Miller, in construction for several months sending money home to have his family join him in 1954. His second daughter, Lori, was born Sept. 3, 1956, when the family was living in La Puente, Calif. Frank acquired a position as an engineering inspector with Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control where he was employed until his retirement. Prior to fulfilling their dream of returning to Minnesota, he lost his beloved Jeanne in 1977 to heart failure. Upon his retirement in July of 1978, Frank returned to Mabel, Minn. In the summer of 1979, Frank married Correne Foltz. He and Correne enjoyed 16 years together before her passing in 1995. Frank was an active member of the Mabel American Legion where he served as Color Guard at numerous area funerals. He also was a faithful member of the Hesper Lutheran Church. He became a familiar face at the Mabel Steam Engine Days where he worked many hours taking tickets at the Steam Engine grounds and preparing food at the church pancake breakfasts. Gardening was a passion of Frank's and he was happy to share the bounty with neighbors and the residents at Green Lea Manor. During the summer months, the golf course in Mabel became at least a weekly haunt for Frank, Torgie, Ken and Arnie - fondly known as the "Three Old Guys and a Young Fart." Later in 1998, Frank was spending the cold months in Arizona with his daughter, Vonnie and her husband so he could extend his golfing to a year-round event. Frank was a man who was always up to a challenge as was the case when he was visiting his son in Wyoming where he experienced his first ever whitewater rafting trip at the age of 75. Cooking was always a joy for him, and his daughters claim he grilled the world's best barbeque ribs. Throughout his life, he was extremely close to his brothers. Whether it was singing harmony at family gatherings or just visiting his brothers were always a part of his life.
Frank became the first resident of the newly constructed Meadows Assisted Living facility in Mabel in 2006 where he resided until his passing. He considered the residents and care givers at The Meadows as family. He always enjoyed the meals and in his early years he enjoyed grilling for residents.
He is survived by his beloved brother, Wayne (Shirley) Darrington, of Decorah; his son, David (Mary Jo) of Highlandville; his daughter Vonnie (Jim) Ball of Scottsdale Ariz.; his daughter, Lori (Bruce) McPherson of Arvada, Colo. He also is survived by six grandchildren - Dan, Trisa, and Crystal originally from Hesper; Silas, Kelly, and Andy originally from Arvada Colo.; 13 great-grandchildren; two very special nieces Carrie (Jim) Horihan, Peggy (Dale) Rovang, and nephew Steve (Karen) Darrington; 11 additional nieces and nephews and countless friends acquired during his 89 years.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers - Mark and Bruce; his two wives, Jeanne and Correne, and a daughter-in-law, Linda.